new-york

Paul Georges

Center for Figurative Painting

PAUL GEORGES WANTS TO PAINT “The Big Idea,” as the title of his miniretrospective indicates, and the big idea (as in “What's the big idea?”) turns out to be Georges himself. Tall, slightly overweight Georges cuts a big, full figure, and he appears in work after work, sometimes glowering confrontationally in an eccentric space (Self-Portrait in Studio, 1959), sometimes sitting comfortably in a familiar space (Cedar Tavern, 1973–74), undisturbed by the curious spectator. So the big idea is Me, but Georges takes his own narcissism with a grain of salt as large as his own outsize ego. There is a peculiarly comic awkwardness to his paintings, with self-deprecation (if not exactly modesty) balancing self-assertion. The awkwardness sometimes seems calculated and stagy, but at its best his painterliness has the same complicated instinctive resonance—conveys the same sense of concentrated

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